The Internet of Things (IoT) is hitting the factory floor big time. All types of devices are getting smart and they’re getting connected, offering their trickle of data to the rivers and pools of big data. To make it that much easier to get everything connected, Echelon Corp. has created an Internet of Things Kit designed for the industrial market.
Echelon calls its kit IzoT, and it is specifically targeted to get products up on the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT). Echelon’s FT 6000 EVK (Evaluation and Development Kit) was designed for developers who are creating, testing, and deploying devices and control applications for the IIoT. According to Echelon, the kit packages the essential elements of the company’s IzoT platform into an easy-to-order and easy-to-use package that developers can use to create wired devices using the ISO 14908-compatible Free Topology (FT) technology.
Echelon’s IzoT platform is an IP-enabled family of chips, stacks, interfaces, and management software that enables the development of devices, peer-to-peer device communities, and software applications for the IIoT. The FT 6000 EVK “IzoT in a Box” includes evaluation boards based on the FT 6050 System-on-Chip, a router to connect the FT-based device network to Ethernet, development tools to develop devices and applications on the boards, and software to commission and manage the device network.
Echelon’s IIoT kit is added to the company’s long history of connecting devices online. “We’ve been connecting things to the internet for 25 years. In 1990 we launched LonWorks to help developers connect everyday objects,” Varun Nagaraj, SVP and GM of Echelon’s IoT Division, told Design News. “LonWorks segments included automation in buildings, which means connectivity to Honeywell, Siemens, and Johnson Controls products. In the smart grid, our networking protocol is used for smart meters. We also connect outdoor and indoor lighting using LEDs.”
Over the decades, Echelon had connected a substantial number of devices. “There are 110 million devices using our chips or software. That’s our starting point,” Nagaraj told us. “Our new IoT for industrial is redone with cutting-edge technology and new practices.” One of the things Echelon had to cope with in industrial was the combination of wired and wireless devices. “In automation it’s still heavily wired. We’re seeing a mix of wired and wireless,” said Nagaraj. “In the industrial segment, wireless is still relegated to the fringes. It is moving to the wireless, but right now only 5% of the devices are wireless. Going forward, that will reach 40%.”
The IoT is just getting started, so Nagaraj sees a long road ahead for the IoT. “Gartner said there will be 30 billion things connected by 2020,” said Nagaraj. “How much of that will be existing devices, and how much will be new? Gartner said it will be 50/50. So we created our kit to appeal to customers who are just starting out.”
The FT 6000 EVK includes:
- Two evaluation boards with FT 6050 SoCs, a comprehensive set of inputs and outputs (I/O), and simple sensors and actuators for prototyping the IIoT device and device community.
- Five FT 6050 SoCs for developers to build custom device hardware after completing the prototypes on the evaluation boards.
- One IzoT router to connect between the FT-based device network and an Ethernet network. The IzoT router also includes IzoT server stack software and an FT terminator.
- IzoT NodeBuilder software, for developing and testing embedded device software on the evaluation boards or on the custom device.
- IzoT Commissioning Tool/EVK Edition, for installing and managing the evaluation board or custom devices and a device network.
The kit lists for $895.